The editorial page of the Sun Journal got it right when it detailed the problems with proposing new spending in times such as these when the state faces great fiscal challenges (Feb. 5). What you got wrong was the characterization of my bill to provide scholarships for the Seeds of Peace Camp as new spending.

The Seeds of Peace brings together children from parts of the world that are scarred by war, historic mistrust and senseless violence. The camp teaches young people to see the human side of their enemies. It teaches the leaders of tomorrow that people with different backgrounds and interests can live together in peace.

The Legislature recognized the importance of the Seeds of Peace in 1998 when it approved legislation funding scholarships for the world-renowned camp. Because proponents of the legislation wanted to be fiscally responsible, they included a provision requiring resubmission of the legislation every few years to ensure review. Were it that all programs were subject to periodic review, we would not be in the budget mess we are in today.

My bill is the resubmission of legislation as required by the original authorizing legislation five years ago. While these scholarships are not new, they are important and should be continued.

Rep. Ted Heidrich, Oxford

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